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  1. #91
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    I don't know who specifically you are responding to, but there's a lot more here than semantic argument, though that element is present.

    For example, if it is true that everyone acts with only their own reward in mind, what is being claimed by some, then it would warrant the colloquial definition of selfish.

    My previous disagreement with you, was that brain stimuli necessitates desire, wants and needs. I don't think it does. It is also the key point to my disagreement with the main argument in the OP. Essentially surmounting to people not always acting on their own desires, wants and needs. It being a trait of the English language to use the word "want" and similar terms, where one could instead replace it with something like "tends towards". The English language does not so easily mimic the make-up of the mind, so to speak.


    I overlooked your response, and my post was not directed toward you.

    Yes, but selfish is a much more agreed upon concept. Even though it is related to selfless, it is very far removed from this discussion IMO.

    You are correct, the sum of a human is not conscious. Would you like subconscious actions (like breathing or a heartbeat) to be considered here? It seems like when discussion whether one is selfless or not, we would have to look at his/her conscious choices, rather than simply some automatic or subconscious action. I'm not sure of the relevance. Also, I included the term "etc," which was meant to include certain conscious "inclinations" not thought of.
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    You are correct, the sum of a human is not conscious. Would you like subconscious actions (like breathing or a heartbeat) to be considered here? It seems like when discussion whether one is selfless or not, we would have to look at his/her conscious choices, rather than simply some automatic or subconscious action. I'm not sure of the relevance. Also, I included the term "etc," which was meant to include certain conscious "inclinations" not thought of.
    I'm not treading with much certainty here, but I mean that a lot of conscious actions are not based on wants, desires or needs. I think I experience them all the time myself.

    My more certain point is that, the mind being as complex and not understood as it is, to make the blanket statement that X type actions are all based on desire is not one made with any certainty. Whether X is conscious or not. I think there is certainty if you use the vague properties of the English language, where one can say the object wants to fall to the earth when explaining gravity, but in terms of the reward functions of the brain I'm not so sure.

  3. #93
    Senior Member Zangetshumody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentMind View Post
    He is trying too hard.
    concede your pursuit, and if you don't, actually mount a real reasoned rebuttal... But I guess that would probably be way too much to ask.

    Well in a sense you are correct, as you are certainly wasting my time; you say you were looking for challenges, then why do you do you strangely agree with all the real ones which contradict your entire enterprise, its a pathetic tactic employed to avoid having to ever construct a viable rebuttal.

    I will repeat the same thing i did before, I also spell the incongruence of your doctrines out below in the hopes that it is really just stupidity that ails you...


    " Below is a paragraph I wrote and you agreeing with me, what you fail to realize is that this paragraph dismantles the thesis of your argument entirely, I can only conclude that you cannot read... perhaps you should attempt reading it through again, and if you still agree with your initial assessment concede your pursuit, and if you don't, actually mount a real reasoned rebuttal... But I guess that would probably be way too much to ask.

    If one would restrict oneself to your own formulation of selfishness, it is so vague and all encompassing in its application, it would seem to me that the word loses so much of its meaning and force that it can no longer truly exclude actual selflessness, i.e. it would seem an act could be morally selfless (made with no consideration towards the self), and yet be selfish according to your definition (because it happened to ex post facto render some benefit to the actor).
    Precisely. "

    Therefore your definition of selfish has nothing to do with morality, it is a amoral, it has no recourse to an agent's motivations and intentions except perhaps by way of an unjustified presumption which would be impossible to uphold, but I'm sure that wouldn't stop someone like you. Please notice also that above you agree with me, and that the above paragraph dismantles your entire argument. Your a [removed] and I won't be wasting any more time on you.
    Last edited by Kasper; 05-26-2010 at 12:33 AM. Reason: personal attack removed
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  4. #94
    The King Liason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zang View Post
    The premise of my argument is; that an action cannot be selfless, as they selfishly benefit the enactor of the action in some way or form.

    I believe it is more accurate to derive moral characterization by appraising principles which underly an agents' motivations or intentions.

    If one would restrict oneself to your own formulation of selfishness, it is so vague and all encompassing in its application, it would seem to me that the word loses so much of its meaning and force that it can no longer truly exclude actual selflessness, i.e. it would seem an act could be morally selfless (made with no consideration towards the self), and yet be selfish according to your definition (because it happened to ex post facto render some benefit to the actor).


    Do people not initially act upon their raising? People in modern society are told and taught right and wrong as they grow and develop into their adult selves. Even then, that's when they debate what they've been taught from their upbringing and experience.

    Note that, what they have been taught, and what they have learned generally influences their morals/societal prejudice/conscience, thusly leading that whatever they did choose to do was initially, even if such was not a conscious decision, out of aversion to negative consequence, thusly upholding the posters argument.

    Though I make the detriment it is not a very clear one and I choose no side on this argument as my personal view, simply explaining the flaw in this particular piece.
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  5. #95
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Therefore your definition of selfish has nothing to do with morality, it is a amoral, it has no recourse to an agent's motivations and intentions except perhaps by way of an unjustified presumption which would be impossible to uphold, but I'm sure that wouldn't stop someone like you. Please notice also that above you agree with me, and that the above paragraph dismantles your entire argument. Your a [removed] and I won't be wasting any more time on you.
    Okay, then. Thanks for destroying my argument.
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  6. #96
    Senior Member Zangetshumody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liason View Post
    Do people not initially act upon their raising? People in modern society are told and taught right and wrong as they grow and develop into their adult selves. Even then, that's when they debate what they've been taught from their upbringing and experience.

    Note that, what they have been taught, and what they have learned generally influences their morals/societal prejudice/conscience, thusly leading that whatever they did choose to do was initially, even if such was not a conscious decision, out of aversion to negative consequence, thusly upholding the posters argument.

    Though I make the detriment it is not a very clear one and I choose no side on this argument as my personal view, simply explaining the flaw in this particular piece.
    You make the same flaw as the OP in that you label someone selfish with recourse to the effects of a willed action while totally ignoring subjective intentionality (which is the basis of morality), making your "selfish" label colloquial with no moral basis.

    Not that morality is something your interested in at all since your thinking seems to purposefully omit free will; if you wish to discount moral deliberation but say that most human behavior is functionally beneficial, and define beneficial actions rather than selfish-motives as selfish, then yes, you will have just defined the most selfish world imaginable, but don't for a second think you have accomplished this inflammatory feat in a way that has any moral bite, omitting the mechanism of moral deliberation means you are playing semantic games with the shell of a word that is truly meaningless in any phrase you could cling to in your defense.
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  7. #97
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Some crap moved to OT thread, the topic is selflessness, resume.
    Last edited by Kasper; 05-26-2010 at 07:07 PM. Reason: I don't read threads. Correction.

  8. #98
    Senior Member Lex Talionis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity View Post
    Some crap moved to OT thread, the topic is Selfishness, resume.
    The topic is actually selflessness. I suppose it is assumed that a lack of selflessness equates to selfishness, which is for the most part true, but is a fruitless realization.
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  9. #99
    psicobolche tcda's Avatar
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    Selflessness is not a "lie", though it may be the wrong way to frame the question.

    What definitely is a lie is "rational self-interest". It's the self-serving ideology of the victorian British bourgeoisie which was inhereted by the capitalist classes around the world.

    But history is full of examples of people going to their death for a collective cause and "rational self-interest" has no way of explaining that.

    Richard Dawkins tried in a convoluted way to put this down to the "selfish gene", but that book could just as easily have been called the "altruistic gene". The attempts to explain an incredibly wide range of behaviours within "self-interest" are not very convincing, because this inevitably means stretching the definition of "selfish" so much that it makes the term meaningless.
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  10. #100
    Senior Member Lex Talionis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcda View Post
    Selflessness is not a "lie", though it may be the wrong way to frame the question.

    What definitely is a lie is "rational self-interest". It's the self-serving ideology of the victorian British bourgeoisie which was inhereted by the capitalist classes around the world.

    But history is full of examples of people going to their death for a collective cause and "rational self-interest" has no way of explaining that.

    Richard Dawkins tried in a convoluted way to put this down to the "selfish gene", but that book could just as easily have been called the "altruistic gene". The attempts to explain an incredibly wide range of behaviours within "self-interest" are not very convincing, because this inevitably means stretching the definition of "selfish" so much that it makes the term meaningless.
    Oh ho ho, I smell a Marxist. What's the matter? Richard Dawkins' humanism isn't leftist enough for you?
    "Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily."
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